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1.1 Background to the study
 The interest of linguists from the days of yore has been to examine language scientifically, as a unique feature in human communication. Thus, linguistic investigation deals with the structural, phonetic and grammatical configuration of any given language. Stemming from this course are phonetics, phonology, syntax and semantics as the basic aspects of linguistic investigations. While the interests of phonetics and phonology are on the speech sounds, syntax dwells on the structure, then semantics- on meaning. The main concern of the phoneticians and phonologists is to scrutinize the speech sounds that occur in spoken language. Although differences occur in the duo, phonetics is interested in the study of all speech sounds, whether distinctive or not. Phonology is interested in the distinctive (contrastive) speech sounds and their combination patterns in a given language. That shows the function and structure of speech sounds in a language. So, inasmuch as phonetics and phonology as areas of linguistic investigation have a common focus- speech sounds their mode of operation and analysis differ (Okorji 2013). Phonemes are defined as “the smallest segments of sounds that can be distinguished by their contrast within words” (Ladefoged 1975:23). Every language is composed of vowels and consonants, which can be considered to be the segments of which speech is made up of. These segments together form syllables, which in turn make up utterances. In the spoken language, sounds occur both within and beyond the (concrete) segments, and yet contribute to the sound quality. Such distinctive features or sound qualities which exist beyond the segments are referred to as suprasegmentals. Furthermore, in the formation of certain utterances, there exist some alterations and modifications in the original ways by which speech sounds are produced. The modification- addition or alteration of the basic way that a segment (vowel or consonant) is articulated is referred to as sound/segment modification. With specific investigations into certain languages or dialects of a language, distinction is made in the way the speakers manipulate the language both on the segmental levels and beyond. In our contemporary times, the linguistic realities continually tug the Igbo language and tend to point unwaveringly to the hollowness of research into the linguistic components operating beyond the segments. A great attention is paid on the prosodic features and uses of the phonemic resources of the language. In this paper, such features are keenly encapsulated as “Suprasegmentals” and “Segment Modifications” in the Igbo language. Suprasegmentals and segment modifications found their way to linguistics as commodified tools of phonetics. Although they do not compose the phonetic segments, they are imposed on the segments and also manipulate or modify the segments to enhance the functionality of a simple segment, thereby serving as economic tool of linguistic creativity. This would maximize the window of opportunity by valorizing the segments for optimum utilization, as commodified tool of communication. This enquiry is on the suprasegmentals and segment modifications in the Ihitenansa speech community of Igbo, in a bid to discern and outline such features precisely. Generally, suprasegmental has to do with the sound effect which is realized above the segments, whereas the segments are manifested as vowels and consonants. The superimposed features (known as suprasegmentals) exist in the forms of variations in stress (accent) and pitch (tone and intonation). Ifode (1995:69) avers that certain phenomena of speech often spread over more than one segment of speech. Suprasegmental features, also referred to as prosodic features, can be seen as attributes to the quality or qualities of the sound segment, and are characterized by the fact that they can only be described with reference or in relation to other items in the same utterance. To cap it all, it is the relative rather than the absolute values of the pitch, length or degree of stress of an item that are significantly referred to as the suprasegmental features.

Project detailsContents
Number of Pages80 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
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